Eileen Stark, author of Real Gardens Grow Natives, will be joining us again on Thursday, February 4 from 10:30 am to Noon, to answer questions and sign copies of her book. Eileen is a landscape designer and consultant who specializes in developing wildlife habitat gardens.  Visit Eileen’s webpage at to learn more about Eileen and gardening with native plants.



Kristin Ohlson from Portland, will be signing her new book The Soil Will Save Us on Saturday, February 6 from Noon - 2:00 pm Kristin was a 2015 finalist for the Oregon Book Awards and was the winner of the 2015 Books for a Better Life (Green Category).  Her book focuses on how scientists, farmers, and foodies are healing the soil to save the planet.  For more information about Kristin go to

Winter Farming Series offered by the OSU Extension Service Small Farms Program

Are you interested in exploring whether winter production would be a good addition to your farm business? There are several crops that can be harvested during the winter months in Oregon. This class series will cover the basics of winter production including season extension tips and tools, planting dates and varietal selection that you will need to get started in winter production. We’ll also walk you through the process of keeping records to track production costs and analyzing whether winter production can be a profitable enterprise for your farm.

You’ll have a chance to visit with farmers that are experienced with winter production to get perspectives from the field. Our goal is to support you with testing out winter production on your farm to determine whether it is a feasible enterprise for your operation. Classes are spread out over a whole year and timed so that you can apply what you learn for your winter plantings in 2016.

Class Schedule

  • Winter Farming Tour - January 20, 2016 from 9 - 4 pm
  • Winter Crop Planning and Marketing - February 10, 2016 from 6 - 8:30 pm
  • Winter Vegetable Field Day and Season Extension Structures - March 9, 2016 from 1 - 5:30 pm
  • Recordkeeping for Profitability Analysis - July 6, 2016 from 6 - 8:30 pm
  • Winter Farm Enterprise Profitability Analysis - January 25, 2017 from 6-8:30 pm

Registration fee is $120 for 5 sessions.

To view a detailed agenda or to register visit our website

Classes will meet at the Polk County Extension Office (289 E Ellendale Ave Suite 301, Dallas, OR 97338) or at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center (15210 NE Miley Road Aurora, OR 97002)

Contact Amy Garrett to determine if this class is right for you or call 541-766-3556.

Water Rights Open House

You are invited to join the Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, Oregon Water Resources Department and the Natural Resource Conservation Service to discuss water quantity issues and irrigation efficiency opportunities.  Water Master, Joel Plahn, will be present to answer questions.

Where: OSU Extension Office, 289 E. Ellendale, Ste 301 Dallas, OR

When: 3-5 pm, Thursday January 7th

Please RSVP by January 4th to Polk SWCD at or call 503-623-9680 ext 103

Welcome Thomas Hoskins to NRCS Staff

Thomas Hoskins has joined the Yamhill County NRCS staff as the new District Conservationist for Yamhill County. His most recent position was in the high mountain country of Northern Utah where he worked as a Range Conservationist for the Utah NRCS in the Coalville Field Office for 10 years. In addition to working in Utah, Thomas also worked for the Oklahoma and New Mexico NRCS as a Rangeland Management Specialist. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Rangeland Management and Wildlife Habitat Management at New Mexico State University. Thomas is a welcome addition to the group and we are glad he is here in Oregon!

Oregon’s Oak: A Vanishing Legacy & Caretakers in Time

Two short films produced by Yamhill Watershed Stewardship Fund and AH Creative.

Oregon white oak and the oak community are one of the most imperiled ecosystems in the entire United States. More than 95% of the oak habitat is gone, compared to 150 years ago, making it important to protect these trees now.

Once the dominant habitat tree in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, the Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana) was managed for food by generations of Native Americans. Oak habitat also provides food and habitat for approximately 250 native wildlife species.

Today the amount of space is for these majestic trees is greatly diminished, threatened by population growth, land conversion, and encroachment of other vegetation due to lack of fire management. The majority of oaks are in private ownership. These landowners hold the fate of Oregon’s tree in their hands.

These two short films were produced with the hope that more private landowners will recognize the significance of these mighty oaks so that this tree will continue to represent our state, our history and our heritage.

These films were produced with funding and participation from:   Yamhill Watershed Stewardship Fund, Yamhill County Cultural Coalition, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Friends of Trees, The Nature Conservancy, Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District, Yamhill Small Woodlands Association, Greater Yamhill Watershed Council, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Heritage Seedlings, and private donors. Filmed on locations in Yamhill and Marion Counties, Oregon in the fall of 2015.


2015 Annual Dinner Recap

The Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District hosted over 150 guests at the 63rd Annual Dinner Meeting held on October 28 at the McMinnville Community Center. Over $1800 was raised from the silent auction and we would like to thank the businesses and organizations that donated items to the auction. These funds benefit the Stan R. Christensen Fund, established to memorialize Stan and promote conservation education and outreach. Matthew Mattioda, Miller Timber Services, Inc., was the guest speaker and he shared the fascinating new technology being used in the forestry industry to maintain healthy forests.  And the Rogue Gourmet Catering Co. provided a delicious buffet dinner to the guests.

The winners of the 2015 Conservation Awards were announced:

  • Hyla Woods, Peter and Pam Hayes,  received the Conservation Landowner Award
  • Theresa Crain and Neyssa Hays received the Conservation Educators Award and
  • Chehalem Park and Recreation District received the Urban Conservationist Award

Click to see photos of the award winners, a list of the generous auction donors and volunteers and photos of the evening!

Drought Preparedness Class Packs the Room

The Yamhill Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) and Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service organized a Drought Preparedness Workshop on November 3rd.  Irrigators from Yamhill, Marion and Polk counties gathered at the Chemeketa campus in McMinnville to hear about more effective methods for irrigation and how to use water more efficiently. Troy Peters, Washington State University Extension Irrigation Specialist, came down from Prosser, WA to speak about the science of irrigation and best practices for scheduling. He highlighted their Irrigation Scheduler Mobile which ties in real time weather data, crop coefficients and other variables to assist irrigators in making better scheduling decisions. Chad Higgins, the head of the Nexus of Energy, Water and Agriculture Laboratory at OSU, shared research he is conducting, field testing variable rate irrigation on center pivots.  Specifically, he is looking at how precise this technology can be and what challenges might exist in creating a precise irrigation prescription for fields. You can read more about this research here.

Jon Unger, Water Resource Department, Travis Godeaux, Natural Resources Conservation Service,  and Ulrike Mengelberg, Energy Trust, all discussed incentives, grants, and cost opportunities that exist for irrigation efficiency upgrades, water conservation and increasing water storage capacity.

The Yamhill SWCD and OSU would like to THANK the participants and speakers along with a special THANK YOU to sponsors, Crop Production Services and Ernst Irrigation.

What Can I Do With My Small Farm?

Are you considering starting a small farm business or have you recently purchased property with interest in homesteading? This workshop is sponsored by OSU Extension and will help entrepreneurs considering a small farm business to think through the physical, economic and personal factors of developing their business.  A great opportunity for networking and learning some of the basics of building your small farm business. 

More Info Here!



November 126:00-8:30

Yamhill County Extension Office, Public Works Auditorium

2050 NE Lafayette Ave. McMinnville

Cost: $20/person or $30/couple

Please register by calling the OSU extension office, 503-434-7517.  

McMinnville 4th Graders Enjoyed their Field Trip to Miller Woods

McMinnville 4th Graders Enjoyed their Field Trip to Miller Woods, where students received “hands on” education in the beautiful outdoor setting.

We want to thank Tom Brewster, a volunteer at Miller Woods, for creating the bird box kits for the students to assemble and take home. This is always a popular station and volunteer Jeanie Taylor shared some of the comments the kids made to her:

"I'm going to take this home and tell my mom I made it myself!"

"I forgot we were in school, I was just thinking about building the bird house."

"Can I put my stuff here? I have something in my shoe."

(Jeanie)) "That's no fun."

"No, but THIS was really fun, the bird box building!"

"Yeah, I was going to say looking at birds was my favorite activity, but I think building the boxes was the best. "

This station requires adult assistance to assemble the bird boxes and we want to THANK the following dedicated volunteers for giving up their time to help Tom at the Bird Box station: Brian Kotch; Connie Hutchison; Dave Riedman; Brad Smith; Dave Parker; Gloria Lutz; Jennie Sue Dunn-Dixon; Jeanie Taylor and Tom Lenon.  We couldn’t have done this without your helping hands!

Check out more pictures from the trip!


Woodland Ponds Workshop

You are invited to attend a Woodlands Pond Workshop at the Miller Woods Conference Room on Monday, October 19th from 9:00am to Noon. Steve Bowers, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Specialist and author of the Woodland Ponds book, will be the Instructor. This workshop will cover the practical aspects of starting and maintaining a pond on your property. Cost is $10 and includes a copy of the Woodland Ponds book. See the attached flyer for details and to rsvp.